James Campion reviews Natalie Dower: Reflections, at Eagle Gallery, London, on view through January 16, 2016.
Campion writes: "All the works in the show sit on a spectrum of decipherability... I think it might be fruitful to evaluate each of Dower’s works in terms of her ‘management of decipherability’. One can think about how successfully the medley of decisions to do with colour, material, etc. works with the system being used. We could ask questions of any given work such as: does the use of a particular system with a particular material require a full revelation or a partial revelation of its logic? Or indeed, does a system presented in a particular state of decipherability demand a particular material?"
David Rhodes reviews works by Ann Pibal at Lucien Terras, New York, on view through January 17, 2016.
Rhodes writes: "Pibal’s art is not one of cool formalism. There is a precision here that does not exclude either intellect or sensual pleasure. Neither of these attributes is reduced because of the presence of the other; on the contrary, they combine to enhance each other."
Ken Johnson reviews an exhibition of paintings by Cary Smith at Fredericks & Freiser, New York, on view through January 9, 2016.
Johnson writes that "[Smith's] works don’t aim to deflate Modernist art à la Sherrie Levine and others of the Neo-Geo trend of the 1980s. There’s a sense, rather, of personally expressive import to his paintings, most evident in those where blobby shapes radiate from straight-edged geometric forms, like flowers growing out of eccentric pots, as in “Painted Splat #4 (pale blue — yellow with color block).” Cool formal order contains a warm spirit of expansive exuberance."
Miguel de Baca remembers painter Paul Reed (1919–2015).
De Baca writes:"Reed’s work is celebrated for eliciting a sense of vibrancy from complex color combinations even when areas of thinned pigment overlap, demonstrating his mastery over the unpredictable acrylic medium... Reed’s early work ... sustained the interplay between graphic elements and painterly ones and an innovative use of the 'fragment,' which became one of his important motifs. These tensions between color and shape motivated Reed to employ zigzags and lattices in later works. By 1967, he was liberated from the rectangular format; bold, diagonal rays of color exploded against the edges of irregular quadrilaterals and other polygons.
Walter Darby Bannard writes about the work of Ann Walsh on the occasion of her exhibition at Alexander/Heath Contemporary, Roanoke, Virginia, on view through November 28, 2015.
Bannard writes: "Dematerialized color is a physical impossibility and monocolor – a simple one-colored surface – is an ineffective cliché and by now overdone, so the prerequisite for a 'color artist' such as Olitski or Walsh, or perhaps Morris Louis, who threw color against the edge to keep it pure and unmixed, is to contrive a work that insists on color as the primary expressive vehicle as such. Olitski did it with low-variation sprayed surfaces and edge-drawing that proclaims the work as a painting, and Walsh does it by putting forward uninterrupted expanses of pure color in carefully adjusted combination. Recently she has introduced mild curvature into an originally rectilinear format, eliminating real-world intimations of stability, and turning structural dynamism into casual delicacy – less a 'tough'visualization of lateral tension than the sudden beauty of a windblown curtain."
About Evertz's paintings Mattera observes: "while the chromatic stripes are rigorously parallel, the grays are painted at an angle. That is to say that in the thickness of one stripe, two extremely acute angles of slightly different values are painted; what starts out thick at the top tapers to nothing at the bottom, while what starts out thick at the bottom tapers to nothing at the top. It's subtle but potent." Writing about the Hard Edge Painting show Mattera notes: "While the Washington painters worked largely on unprimed canvas, the Los Angeles group worked in oil, and the New Yorkers in acrylic. Medium may not be immediately or even necessarily apparent so much as the result, which is optically compelling both compositionally and chromatically."
Miller writes: "Marguerite Hohenberg (1883-1972) and Medard Klein (1905-2002) were two Chicago abstract artists who enjoyed national recognition in their heydays but vanished from view soon thereafter. In this show of works on paper, it’s Hohenberg’s transcendent colorism that captures the attention... She left Austria at age six, but recreated the elegant, sensual, dynamic world of the Viennese Secession fifty years later in Chicago...The work of Medard Klein, who once exhibited at Hohenberg’s gallery, is more theatrical. Formal elements are popping, splashing, and spinning about on the graphic stage. They feel like animated cartoons with figures like anthropomorphic maps of complex mathematical equations."
Kalm observes that "Swain's sophisticated system of color tones, and spatial relations is a unique direction of investigation, with an obsessive side that boarders on the eccentric. This suite of large paintings, produced specifically for the new Minus Space, provide viewers with an essential view of the artist's achievements."
Paul Corio reviews paintings by Don Voisine at McKenzie Fine Art, New York, on view through June 14, 2015.
Corio writes that a "new device in these pictures is a particular grey which is not mixed but would appear to be produced by applying black paint over a white ground then scraping or sanding back to partially reveal the underlying color. The resulting atmosphere moves these paintings further away from formal readings, and far more into the realm of the poetic, possibly even romantic (although I shouldn’t get too carried away). In 'Landscape Into Art,' the venerable Kenneth Clark suggests that the most difficult thing to accomplish in landscape painting is a convincing evocation of night. In 'Narrows,' the largest picture in the show, two gloss-black spectral rectangles, like giant robotic eyes, emerge from the grey described above, each bordered by a pair of attenuated matte black triangles. The latter shapes act as a bridging color, completing the illusion that the dominant shapes are rising from a spooky, nighttime mist."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.